By GQ South Africa:
Writer: Godwin Mitchual
JoyRukanza is a queen in her own right, and this is not because of how she titles her latest musical offering “Queendom” but it is actually the personification of her alluring personality.
I have been meaning to have a sit down with her ever since I watched the enchanting visuals for her song “Roses” which she released in March of this year. Although I got to know about her music in 2021, JoyRukanza’s professional recording journey began with the release of her 2017 song “Shingirira” where she collaborated effortlessly with multi-award-winning producer Skaiva. The song, which was recorded during her stay in high school, went on to become a national hit, receiving heavy rotation on both local and regional radio stations.
Joy Roselyn Rukanzakanza artistically known as JoyRukanza is a Zimbabwean songstress who like many other musicians developed a love for music when little. She led her school choir through regional competitions in her hometown, Bulawayo.
Early this year, she released the KiD X assisted “New Day”, followed by “Roses” produced by SAMA Nominated producer – Murphy Cubic.CULTURE5 Top tracks to add to your playlistREAD MORE
In this interview, the beautiful Zimbabwean musician JoyRukanza talks about how she got started in music, her musical inspirations and “Queendom”, the new single from her impending debut studio album titled “MATTER-MORE-FOR-SIS”, a body of work documenting her evolution as a musician.
GQ: How did you get started in music and what gave you the motivation to take it up professionally?
JR: I started singing in primary school when I volunteered to sing a solo piece during a choral performance. Is it then when I realized by happenstance that I had a beautiful voice which I had managed to successfully hide from my family until my aunt who was also a teacher at my primary school spilled the beans. From then, I continued singing in the choir and in high school where I was appointed the school captain which had me overseeing music projects that were done within and out of my alma mater Sizane High School. One of my schoolmates recommended my voice to a producer who was looking for a female vocalist and from then we worked on a couple of projects together which marked the advent of my career as a professional. I stopped recording professionally when I moved to the US to pursue my tertiary studies at Bryn Mawr College before resuming the passion after graduating.
GQ: Do you have any other professional interests aside from music? And how do you juggle the two?
JR: I work as a technology analyst at an asset management firm and have been pursuing this career since graduating college in 2019. My friends and family do not believe that sleep is part of my schedule mostly because I stay up late almost everyday trying to finish my daily deliverables while also pursuing my burning passion for music. When it comes to music, I love what I do and for the most part do not really see it as work.
GQ: Walk us through your creative process. How are you inspired? How do you compose most of your music?
JR: It depends on how I am feeling at the time of writing the said song. Sometimes I can write a song in five minutes and sometimes in five months. The environment I’m in also influences the creative process and there are also times when I have written songs based on personal experiences. When I am writing, I love being alone as I find that it helps me fully express my ideas relative to writing in a room full of people.
GQ: Tell us more about your latest release “Queendom”? What inspired it and what does the song represent?https://www.youtube.com/embed/wObjNi49sgk
JR: The song is about reclaiming power and it’s a femme anthem meant to celebrate the beauty that women bring to this world. The last few years have been shrouded with gender based violence against women, with record highs in domestic violence cases being recorded during the pandemic and its lockdowns. In the song I aim to rekindle that hope within every female and assure every woman that she is worthy of great treatment no matter her status
GQ: What informed your decision to shoot the music video in Tanzania? And what was the experience like?
JR: I had previously worked on some projects remotely with director and producer Silvester Kikoti aka Twinner Flex who is extremely talented. We built a great relationship overtime and one day one of my team members suggested meeting him and working on a project in person. I agreed to the idea and we started planning towards a Tanzania video shoot in February 2021. It was the perfect location as it had the right scenery and historical sites for a song like Queendom. Tanzania is such a beautiful hospitable country and right next to Dar es Salaam you have Zanzibar which was a great excursion after the project was completed. The project saw the whole team behind JoyRukanza travelling from Zimbabwe, the UK, South Africa and some parts of Tanzania and meeting for the first time in person. This was indeed a beautiful experience.
GQ: Which musical genre is your stronghold and if you could dabble in another genre of music, what would it be?
JR: I love experimenting with genres and am not necessarily limited to one or two. I believe that creativity cannot be boxed into categories which is why in my offerings, past and upcoming, I have been able to experiment with RnB fused with Reggae, Hip Hop, Soul and a bit of some Alternative sounds.
GQ: What is the most difficult thing you have had to endure in your music career?
JR: Breaking out of my shell and introducing myself to the world has been quite challenging. This is the case because I always want to control the outcome of everything I do and with music, it is utterly impossible because one cannot simply control how people feel about art. As a result, I have been learning to pave my own path, create and maintain a certain brand and gradually build a fan base with an understanding of my style which is no easy feat. It is a challenging process yet extremely rewarding especially when compliments on your work start pouring in.
GQ: Who do you consider your biggest musical inspirations?
JR: I am inspired by Little Simz, Tiwa Savage, Burna Boy, Iyla, Oliver Mtukudzi, Wizkid, Enya, Gregorian Chants, Black Coffee.
GQ: If you can have your fans remember one thing about you, what would it be?
JR: My dope fashion sense.
GQ: What would make you want to collaborate with another artist? What are your dream collaborations?
JR: I would want to collaborate with another artist for the purpose of cultural exchange, sharing ideas, learning and growing as well as tapping into their market. I would love to do something with Tkay Maidza, Black Coffee, Little Simz, Burna Boy, Don Jazzy, Stogie T, Iyla, Wizkid, Da Capo, DJ Maphorisa the list is endless amongst other incredible artists whose growth I aspire to emulate.
GQ: Finally… are you currently working on any project? What is next for JoyRukanza?
JR: I am working on releasing my debut album MATTER-MORE-FOR-SIS before the end of the year. In the album you can expect some surprise collaborations and various genres all packed in the art for the purposes of telling a love story.